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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT

Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

Take a peek into our latest featured title: Storey’s Guide To Keeping Honey Bees. This informative little book was written by Malcom T. Sanford and Richard E. Bonney, and imparts a great deal of information on honey production, pollination, and bee health. Below are some excerpts and photos from the book. Enjoy!

Storey's Guide to Keeping Honey Bees

On Pollination:
It is well known that the value of pollination and its resultant seed set and fruit formation outweigh any provided by honey bee products like honey and beeswax. The pollination part of plant production, however, has taken a back seat to other considerations by farmers such as soil condition, moisture availability, diseases, and pest pressures.

Many people currently keeping bees have entered the craft with the intention of providing true economic value in terms of pollination. For most, this will be invisible as they focus on the harvest of various products the honey bee offers. Some, however, will inevitably be interested in providing pollination services, whether to increase production in a home garden or to develop commercial opportunities in the larger grower community.

Marking a Queen

On Marking The Queen:
Pick her up by the wings and thorax, never the abdomen. Use one hand to pluck her off the comb and then transfer her to the other hand, being careful not to grab her legs in the process. Apply the paint to the top of the thorax. Do not get any on the abdomen or head! Let the paint dry for a minute or two before returning the queen to the nest. Lacquer sold in hobby shops for painting models, typing correction fluid, and fingernail polish are all acceptable. Make sure it dries quickly, an essential attribute of any marking solution.

There is an international color-marking protocol that has been published, although not everyone follows this convention. The last digit or the year determines the color:

  • The year ends in 0 or 5 : The color is Blue
  • The year ends in 1 or 6 : The color is White
  • The year ends in 2 or 7 : The color is Yellow
  • The year ends in 3 or 8 : The color is Red
  • The year ends in 4 or 9 : The color is Green

Clipping the Queen Bee

On Clipping The Queen:
Another possibility is to clip the queen’s wing. It doesn’t make her as noticeable a marking, but does keep her from flying off with a swarm. Once the bees notice the queen is not with them, they will usually return to the hive. The queen can easily become lost in the process, however. Clipping is usually done with a pain of sharp scissors. Again, she must be immobilized. Be sure not to clip more than one-third of the wing as there are tiny veins that run through it.

Top Bar Hive

On The New Top Bar Hive:
TBH (Top Bar Hive) beekeeping is easier on both bees and beekeeper, according to Dr. Mangum. Here are some reasons:

  • The brood is generally placed toward the front-entrance end of the hive and the honey is located in the rear. Examining the brood or taking off honey is, therefore, less stressful on the insects because one doesn’t have to dismantle the whole colony.
  • The top bars butt against each other. Because of this they double as a cover, reducing material requirements and conserving weight. An outer cover of tin or cardboard is necessary, however, to protect the colony from moisture.
  • Only the part of the hive being worked is exposed during manipulation, which reduces overall defensiveness.
  • Finally, all Dr. Mangum’s hived are mounted on stands at waist level, keeping him from having to bend over.

Top bar beekeeping isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth a try for anyone considering a kinder, gentler way to keep bees.

Spotlight On: Crops & Soil

Carrots and Beets The Roots of Our Garden

Carrots & Beets – The Roots of Our Garden

by:
from issue:

Carrots and beets are some of the vegetables that are easy to kill with kindness. They’re little gluttons for space and nutrients, and must be handled with an iron fist to make them grow straight and strong. Give the buggers no slack at all! Your motto should be – “If in doubt, yank it out!” I pinch out a finger full (maybe 3/4” wide) and skip a finger width. Pinch and skip, pinch and skip, working with existing gaps and rooting out particularly thick clumps.

Seed Quality from Two Perspectives

Seed Quality from Two Perspectives

by:
from issue:

We are approaching this from a seed quality standpoint, not just a seed saving one. Saving seed is fairly simple to do, but the results from planting those seeds can be very mixed; without a basis of understanding of seed quality, people can be disappointed and confused as to why they got the results they did. Both the home gardener and the seed company must understand seed quality to be successful in their respective endeavors.

How to Grow an Acre of Potatoes

How to Grow an Acre of Potatoes

by:
from issue:

Heretofore potato production in this country has been conducted along extensive rather than intensive lines. In other words, we have been satisfied to plant twice as many acres as should have been necessary to produce a sufficient quantity of potatoes for our food requirements. Present economic conditions compel the grower to consider more seriously the desirability of reducing the cost of production by increasing the yield per acre.

Cultivating Questions Ridge-Till Revisited

Cultivating Questions: Ridge-Till Revisited

Delay ridge building until early fall so that the cover crop on the ridge does not grow more than 12” tall before winter. The residues from a short cover crop will be much less challenging to cultivate than a tall stand of oats, especially if tangly field peas are mixed in. Waiting for the winterkilled cover crop residues to breakdown as long as possible before ridge-tilling in the spring will also make cultivation much easier until you gain familiarity with the system.

An Introduction To Farm Woodlands

The farm woodland is that portion of the farm which either never was cleared for tillage or pasture, or was later given back to woods growth. Thus it occupies land that never was considered suitable, or later proved unsuitable, for farm enterprises.

Cultivating Questions: Alternative Tillage & Inter-Seeding Techniques

Our intention is not to advocate the oddball living mulches we use with this single row inter-seeding system, but just to show how it is possible to utilize the between-row areas to improve insect habitat, reduce erosion, conserve moisture, fix some nitrogen, and grow a good bit of extra organic matter. If nothing else, experimenting with these alternative practices continues to keep farming exciting as we begin our twentieth season of bio-extensive market gardening.

Jimmy Red Corn

Jimmy Red Corn

by:
from issue:

Chewning loves to save seeds — he has revived nearly extinct corns, beans, heirloom radishes, watermelons and field peas. He rescued Jimmy Red as well, growing it and saving kernels each year, increasing the seed stock. Little did he know that soon it would burst on the restaurant scene as a prized heirloom cultivar that makes unforgettable red-flecked grits and a rich, smooth whiskey with honey-nut undertones.

What We've Learned From Compost

What We’ve Learned From Compost

by:
from issue:

Our compost piles will age for at least a year before being added to the garden. We have learned that the slow aging is more beneficial to the decomposition process as well as not losing nearly as much nitrogen to off-gassing as happens with the hot and fast methods. Another benefit is the decomposition is much more thorough, destroying weed seeds, pathogens and any unwanted chemicals much better in a slower composting setup.

Horsedrawn No-Till Garlic

Horsedrawn No-Till Garlic

We were inspired to try no-tilling vegetables into cover crops after attending the Groffs’ field day in 1996. No-tilling warm season vegetables has proved problematic at our site due to the mulch of cover crop residues keeping the soil too cool and attracting slugs. We thought that no-tilling garlic into this cover crop of oats and Canadian field peas might be the ticket as garlic seems to appreciate being mulched.

Farm Manure

Farm Manure

Naturally there is great variation in manure according to the animals it is made by, the feeding and bedding material, and the manner in which it is kept. Different analyses naturally shows different results and the tables here given serve only as a guide or index to the various kinds. The manure heap, by the way, is no place for old tin cans, bottles, glass, and other similar waste material.

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes

Fjordworks: Horse Powered Potatoes

This is the account of how one farm put more horse power into the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of its potato crop. Ever since we began farming on our own in 1994 one of our principle aims has been the conversion of our farm operation to live horse power wherever feasible. This has meant replacing mechanized tools such as tractors and rototillers and figuring out how to reduce human labor as we expanded upon the labor capacity of our work horses.

Planting Calendar and Other Diagrams

From Dusty Shelves: A 1943 calendar for seeding your vegetable garden.

Bamboo A Multipurpose Agroforestry Crop

Bamboo: A Multipurpose Agroforestry Crop

by:
from issue:

The bamboos are gaining increased attention as an alternative crop with multiple uses and benefits: 1) domestic use around the farm (e.g., vegetable stakes, trellis poles, shade laths); 2) commercial production for use in construction, food, and the arts (e.g., concrete reinforcement, fishing poles, furniture, crafts, edible bamboo shoots, musical instruments); and 3) ornamental, landscape, and conservation uses (e.g., specimen plants, screens, hedges, riparian buffer zone).

Onion Culture

Onion Culture

The essential requirements of a soil upon which to grow onions profitably are a high state of fertility, good mechanical condition, properties – that is, if it contains sufficient sand and humus to be easily worked, is retentive of moisture and fertilizers, and is capable of drainage – all other requirements can be met.

Starting Seeds

From Dusty Shelves: A WWII era article from Farming For Security

Propagation by Means of Budding and Grafting

Propagation by Means of Budding and Grafting Part 1

by:
from issue:

There are three general divisions or kinds of graftage, between which, however, there are no decisive lines of separation: 1. Bud-grafting, or budding, in which a single bud is inserted under the bark on the surface of the wood of the stock. 2. Cion-grafting, or grafting proper, in which a detached twig, bearing one or more buds, is inserted into or on the stock. 3. Inarching, or grafting by approach, in which the cion remains attached to the parent plant until union takes place.

Swallow

Rotation As A Means Of Blight Control

Every farmer knows that when a crop is grown on the same field year after year, it becomes inferior in quality and the yield steadily diminishes.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT